[personal profile] wingedbeast
The name is negotiable. Fair warning, it'll take a while for me to get to the point.

In terms of low-budget movies, there's a relative moral scale (not relative morality per se, but let's not get into that conversation). At the top of the heap, you have low budget, artsy and experimental movies. These aren't perfect and, on a moral level, they can share certain failures of the rest of the movie world, as well as their own. But, they have a charm and, sometimes they do great things.

I really enjoyed Cube, Wristcutters: A Love Story, and a whole host of movies that I remember but cannot recall their names. (Really, I've tried. I've tried asking around only to find people asking me "do you mean this vastly more well-known movie that you couldn't escape for a decade?")

Moving from that to the middling level, you have the likes of Asylem Pictures. For the most part, they're low budget and low effort. Still, they reach a point of having fun with it, at times. They can create Sharknado or Z Nation. And, Z Nation is reason enough to thank them. (Seriously, they saved the zombie fiction. They have a more cohesive story-line with a better understanding of humanity than The Walking Dead, as well as a sense of humor.) Or, on the more serious end, they can provide you with Outlander.

From here, we look lower on the moral scale, into the predatory movie makers, the Mockbusters. Mockbusters track the big budget movies and produce movies with similar names and vaguely similar elements to come out at the same time. As the world got its first live-action Transformers movie, someone else was coming out with Transmorphers with much less of... anything good. The point, here, is that someone who doesn't know better, doesn't pay much attention to these things, might purchase them while mistaking them, at least in the store (back when there was such a thing for movies) for their bigger budget doppelganger.

It's low budget and it counts on the out-of-sorts, the well-meaning grandma who can't keep up... yeah.

Porn, by the way, can go anywhere on this scale, depending on matters including how it's made and the messages it shares.

Finally, we come to the subject of this Case, the bottom of the moral barrel of the low-budget, independent films... Christian films.

I've tackled a few, before. The Encounter would have been more accurately titled Evil Jesus*. God's Not Dead** and its sequel both promote a narrative of Christian Persecution that is out of touch to a degree that is dangerous for everybody. There are enough examples of Christian movies that are both morally reprehensible and utterly convinced of their moral superiority that I could make this entire Case series about them and never run out of material.

What makes this worse than mock-busters is that it isn't merely bad. It's bad and, at the same time, it has a target audience primed to believe it good on no other criteria than that it is Christian... specifically conservative Christian. It reflects their moral values back at them and tells them that their social and political views are the right ones, needing no challenge, whatsoever, on any front.

If you work in any form of customer service, you share, with nearly all others, the experience of having you being a captive audience being used and abused by someone who insists that America has to get right with God by electing a Republican. I was told, during Obama's first term, that the world was ending soon. I know it was during Obama's first term because that was the reason she was so sure. I tried to tell her that I wasn't able to discuss religion, but she kept interrupting me to tell me that she knew that I wasn't allowed to agree with her.

This isn't *all* down to Christian movies, but they are a large part of the bubble that has formed around conservative Christians. This bubble is made up of Christian movies, Christian TV shows, Christian children's programming, all centered around making sure that those in the bubble never have to be confronted with a world that will disagree with them.

Before you wonder what's so evil about what amounts to nothing more than a few annoyances and regular jokes about that one family member at the Thanksgiving table, President Trump. Oh yes, I am blaming Christian Movies for President Trump. Considering that George W. Bush won his re-election bid in thanks to promising Evangelicals an anti-gay constitutional amendment, I'm blaming that second term on Christian movies as well. Similarly, I'm blaming them for the degradation of the Republican Party into a party that needs no ideas, so long as it holds to the same narrative, unflinching in the face of any kind of intellectual challenge.

True, it's not *all* down to the likes of Pure Flix and the Christiano Brothers. There's Fox News, World Net Daily, conservative talk radio, etc. But, I can only do so much.

This brings us to this Case for an hour-long comedic drama... or dramatic comedy... or dramadie. Again, the title is negotiable, but I think "Holy Crap" will work on multiple levels.

The premise will start with the Christian Film Production Company, Faith Films (I sincerely hope that isn't already taken). It's your standard conservative Christian film company, producing films for that Evangelical set, ensuring that they have such good, wholesome morals as "if you're being abused, it's because you don't pray enough and/or in the right faith" (War Room). They're not big, of course, but they have contacts throughout and a dedicated customer base that always rates them highly, giving them preference over those wicked, secular studios.

Here, you can already see one of the meanings of "Holy Crap".

The shakeup and the conflict comes when someone new buys the production company. Nobody expects anything too major of a change to the way of things. After all, the only reason that someone would buy their company is the same reason they've all joined its employ, to make their living with good, wholesome morals that are good for the world. In fact, the new owner explains that is exactly what they want, good morals that are good for the world.

That, so explains the new owner, will be why the company will no longer be doing such evil.

Through a scene involving reviewing lines from movies from a different perspective, the producers and writers and actors, all under contract to the production company and therefore unable to quit without prohibitive penalty, come to realize that the new owner has a very different understanding of morality from themselves. Here, you see a second meaning of "Holy Crap".

The conflict will be on three levels.

Firstly, there will be the conversations, the attempts through the usual scripts and lines, to convince the new owner that, despite their impression of things, no, Faith Films isn't racist or sexist or homophobic or generally spiteful of liberals and/or non-Christians. This will be stymied by the fact that the new owner is in power and, therefore, can control the conversation. Each will try to convince the other, neither will make much headway.

Secondly, there will be the attempt by the "old guard", the people who have been making films they felt were morally sound and uplifting for upwards of two decades, trying to sneak films by under the old method. The new owner and the "new guard" will try to ensure that the movies have different morals, ones that would be challenging to core audience of Faith Films movies.

Neither set will want to abandon the idea of Christian movies. The point is that they're both Christians. It's just that the newer set has more (dare I say it?) liberal socio-politics.

Thirdly, we will have the element where there cannot be comedy. Once per episode, there will be an interaction, one part conversation and one part interview, between an actor improvising as their character and someone who isn't playing a part. This someone will be someone showing up to lend their story to the show, through conversation with the improvised character.

In universe, this will be through the new owner and the characters of the "new guard" facilitating these encounters with the "old guard" and people who's lives and stories add complications to the fairly simple moral views of the "old guard".

Some of the "old guard" characters will resist changing their minds down to the end. They know what is good because they know what the Bible says, straightforwardly, even when that straightforward, literal interpretation requires one go through a Scofield Reference Labrynth to justify it. Some of the "old guard" characters will, slowly and haltingly, learn to add complexity to their morality, learn that they have been wrong about important things. Those that learn will be able to look at their previous filmography and have new realization of the wrongs they have done.

That will be the serious use of the title in the show.

To be clear, I do not believe that such a show, alone, could reach all of the people it needs to reach. But, maybe, just maybe, it can get a few people to accept that a more complex world that isn't all about them isn't a step towards evil.

* http://wingedbeast.dreamwidth.org/30142.html
** http://wingedbeast.dreamwidth.org/1564.html https://wingedbeast.dreamwidth.org/53196.html
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